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CANADIAN MESSENGER 
LIBRARY 



Section 



JESUIT 

BIBL MAI. 

SEMINARY 



ON UNION 
WITH GOD 



JESUIT 

BIBL MAI. 

SEMINARY 



(Dbetat. 

F. THOS. BERGH, O.S.B., 
CENSOR DEPUTATDS. 



Imprimatur. 

EDM. CAN. SURMONT, 
VICARIDS GENERALIS 



WESTMONASTERII, 

Die 7 Decembris, 1911. 



[All rights reserved} 



Bngelus Series 



onr 

!OO 

.A43I3 



ON UNION WITH 
GOD 



BY BLESSED 

ALBERT THE GREAT, O.P 

WITH NOTES BY 

REV. P. J. BERTHIER, O.P. 



TRANSLATED BY 

A BENEDICTINE OF PRINCETHORPE 
PRIORY 



BIBL. MAI 

SEMNARY 

R. & T. WASHBOURNE, LTD. 

PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON 
AND AT MANCHESTER, BIRMINGHAM, AND GLASGOW 



er P" 



PREFACE 

SURELY the most deeply- 
rooted need of the human 
soul, its purest aspiration, is for 
the closest possible union with 
God. As one turns over the 
pages of this little work, written 
by Blessed Albert the Great 1 to 
wards the end of his life, when 
that great soul had ripened and 
matured, one feels that here indeed 
is the ideal of one s hopes. 

Simply and clearly the great 
principles are laid down, the way 
is made plain which leads to the 
highest spiritual life. It seems as 

1 Following the general tradition, we 
attribute this work to Albert the Great, but 
not all critics are agreed as to its authen 
ticity. 

5 



Preface 

though, while one reads, the mists 
of earth vanish and the snowy 
summits appear of the mountains 
of God, We breathe only the 
pure atmosphere of prayer, peace, 
and love, and the one great fact of 
the universe, the Divine Presence, 
is felt and realized without effort. 

But is such a life possible amid 
the whirl of the twentieth century? 
To faith and love all things are 
possible, and our author shows us 
the loving Father, ever ready to 
give as much and more than we 
can ask. The spirit of such a 
work is ever true ; the application 
may vary with circumstances, but 
the guidance of the Holy Spirit 
will never be wanting to those souls 
who crave for closer union with 
their Divine Master. 

This little treatise has been very 
aptly called the " Metaphysics of 
the Imitation," and it is in the 
6 



Preface 

hope that it may be of use to souls 
that it has been translated into 
English. 

Blessed Albert the Great is too 
well known for it to be necessary 
for us to give more than the briefest 
outline of his life. 

The eldest son of the Count of 
Bollstadt, he was born at Lauin- 
gen in Swabia in 1205 or 1206, 
though some historians give it as 
1193. As a youth he was sent to 
the University of Padua, where he 
had special facilities for the study 
of the liberal arts. 

Drawn by the persuasive teach 
ing of Blessed Jordan of Saxony, 
he joined the Order of St. Dominic 
in 1223, and after completing his 
studies, received the Doctor s 
degree at the University of 
Paris. 

His brilliant genius quickly 
brought him into the most promi- 
7 



Preface 

nent positions. Far-famed for his 
learning, he attracted scholars 
from all parts of Europe to Paris, 
Cologne, Ratisbon, etc., where he 
successively taught. It was during 
his years of teaching at Paris and 
Cologne that he counted among 
his disciples St. Thomas Aquinas, 
the greatness of whose future he 
foretold, and whose lifelong friend 
ship with him then began. 

In 1254 Albert was elected 
Provincial of his Order in Ger 
many. In 1260 he was appointed 
Bishop of Ratisbon, but resigned 
his see in 1262. He then con 
tinued unweariedly until a few 
years before his death, when his 
great powers, especially his memory, 
failed him, but the fervour of his 
soul remained ever the same. In 
1280, at Cologne, he sank, at last 
worn out by his manifold labours. 

" Whether we consider him as a 

8 



Preface 

theologian or as a philosopher, 
Albert was undoubtedly one of 
the most extraordinary men of his 
age ; I might say, one of the most 
wonderful men of genius who 
appeared in past times " (Jour- 
dam). 

Very grateful thanks are due to 
Rev. P. J. Berthier, O.P., for his 
kind permission to append to this 
edition a translation of his excellent 
notes- (from the French edition, 
entitled " De 1 Union avec Dieu "). 



CONTENTS 



I. OF THE HIGHEST PERFECTION 
WHICH MAN CAN ATTAIN UNTO 
IN THIS LIFE 15 

II. How A MAN MAY DESPISE ALL 
THINGS AND CLEAVE TO 
CHRIST ALONE 19 

III. THE LAW OF MAN S PERFEC 

TION IN THIS LIFE - 23 

IV. THAT OUR LABOUR MUST BE 

WITH THE UNDERSTANDING 
AND NOT WITH THE SENSES - 27 
V. OF PURITY OF HEART, WHICH 
IS TO BE SOUGHT ABOVE ALL 
ELSE - 33 

VI. THAT A MAN TRULY DEVOUT 

MUST SEEK GOD IN PURITY 

OF MIND AND HEART - - 40 

VII. OF THE PRACTICE OF INTERIOR 

RECOLLECTION - - - 45 

VIII. THAT A TRULY DEVOUT MAN 

SHOULD COMMIT HIMSELF TO 
GOD IN ALL THAT BEFALLS 

HIM 52 

IX. THE CONTEMPLATION OF GOD 

IS TO BE PREFERRED ABOVE 

ALL OTHER EXERCISES - 57 
ii 



Contents 

CHAPTER 

A. THAT WE SHOULD NOT BE Too 
SOLICITOUS FOR ACTUAL AND 
SENSIBLE DEVOTION, BUT DE 
SIRE RATHER THE UNION OF 

OUR WILL WITH GOD - - 65 
XI. IN WHAT MANNER WE SHOULD 
RESIST TEMPTATION AND EN 
DURE TRIALS y 
XII. THE POWER OF THE LOVE OF 

GOD . . 76 

XIII. OF THE NATURE AND ADVAN 

TAGES OF PRAYER, OF IN 
TERIOR RECOLLECTION - - 82 

XIV. THAT EVERYTHING SHOULD BE 

JUDGED ACCORDING TO THE 
TESTIMONY OF OUR CON 
SCIENCE ----- 88 
XV. ON THE CONTEMPT OF SELF: 

HOW IT IS ACQUIRED : ITS 

PROFIT TO THE SOUL - . 94 
XVI. OF THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD, 

WHICH WATCHES OVER ALL 

THINGS - - . . . I02 



" It is good for me to adhere to my God." 

"Be you therefore perfect, as also your 
heavenly Father is perfect." 



ON UNION WITH GOD 



CHAPTER I 

OF THE HIGHEST 

PERFECTION WHICH MAN 

CAN ATTAIN UNTO IN 

THIS LIFE 

I HAVE felt moved to write a 
few last thoughts describing, 
as far as one may in this waiting- 
time of our exile and pilgrimage, 
the entire separation of the soul 
from all earthly things and its 
close, unfettered union with God. 
I have been the more urged to 
this, because Christian perfection 
has no other end but charity, 
which unites us to God. 1 

1 Albert the Great is speaking here in a 
special manner of religious perfection, aj 

15 



On Union with God 

This union of charity is essential 
for salvation, since it consists in 
the practice of the precepts and 
in conformity to the Divine will. 
Hence it separates us from what 
ever would war against the essence 
and habit of charity, such as 
mortal sin. 1 

But religious, the more easily 
to attain to God, their last end, 
have gone beyond this, and have 
bound themselves by vow to 
evangelical perfection, to that 
which is voluntary and of counsel. 2 
With the help of these vows they 
cut off all that might impede the 
fervour of their love or hinder 
them in their flight to God. They 

though what he says is also true of Christian 
perfection in general. 

1 He speaks here of the obligation laid 
upon all Christians. 

2 Religious bind themselves to observe a 
a duty that which was only of counsel. To 
them, therefore, the practice of the counsels, 
becomes an obligation. 

16 



The Highest Perfection 

have, therefore, by the vow of their 
religious profession, renounced all 
things, whether pertaining to soul 
or body. 1 God is in truth a 
Spirit, and " they that adore Him 
must adore Him in spirit and in 
truth," 2 that is, with a knowledge 
and love, an intelligence and will 
purified from every phantom of 
earth. 

Hence it is written : " When 
thou shalt pray, enter into thy 
chamber " i.e., into the inmost 
abode of thy heart and, " having 
shut the door " of thy senses, with 
a pure heart, a free conscience 
and an unfeigned faith, " pray to 

1 The vows of religion have as their im 
mediate object the removal of obstacles to 
perfection, but they do not in themselves 
constitute perfection. Perfection consists 
in charity. Albert the Great speaks of only 
one vow, because in his day the formulas of 
religious profession mentioned only the vow 
of obedience, which includes the other two 
vows. 

2 John iv. 24. 

17 B 



On Union with God 

thy Father " in spirit and in truth, 
in the " secret " of thy soul. 1 

Then only will a man attain to 
this ideal, when he has despoiled 
and stripped himself of all else ; 
when, wholly recollected within 
himself, he has hidden from and 
forgotten the whole world, that he 
may abide in silence in the presence 
of Jesus Christ. There, in solitude 
of soul, with loving confidence he 
makes known his desires to God. 
With all the intensity of his love 
he pours forth his heart before 
Him, in sincerity and truth, until 
he loses himself in God. Then is 
his heart enlarged, inflamed, and 
melted in him, yea, even in its 
inmost depths. 

1 Matt. vi. 6. 



18 



CHAPTER II 

HOW A MAN MAY DESPISE 

ALL THINGS AND 
CLEAVE TO CHRIST ALONE 

WHOSOEVER thou art who 
longest to enter upon this 
happy state or seekest to direct 
thither thy steps, thus it behoveth 
thee to act. 

First, close, as it were, thine 
eyes, and bar the doors of thy 
senses. Suffer not anything to 
entangle thy soul, nor permit 
any care or trouble to penetrate 
within it. 

Shake off all earthly things, 
counting them useless, noxious, 
and hurtful to thee. 1 

1 When Albert the Great and the other 
mystics warn us against solicitude with re- 

19 



On Union with God 

When thou hast done this, enter 
wholly within thyself, and fix thy 
gaze upon thy wounded Jesus, and 
upon Him alone. Strive with all 
thy powers, unwearyingly, to reach 
God through Himself, that is, 
through God made Man, that thou 
mayest attain to the knowledge of 
His Divinity through the wounds 
of His Sacred Humanity. 

In all simplicity and confidence 
abandon thyself and whatever 
concerns thee without reserve to 
God s unfailing Providence, accord 
ing to the teaching of St. Peter: 
"Casting all your care upon Him," 1 
Who can do all things. And again 
it is written : " Be nothing soli 
citous "; 2 " Cast thy care upon the 

gard to creatures, they refer to that solicitude 
which is felt for creatures in themselves ; 
they do not mean that we ought not to 
occupy ourselves with them in any way for 
God s sake. The great doctor explains his 
meaning in clear terms later on in this work. 
1 i Pet. v. 7. 2 Phil. iv. 6. 



The Search after God 

Lord and He shall sustain thee "j 1 
" It is good for me to adhere to 
my God"; 2 "I set the Lord 
always in my sight " ; 3 "I found 
Him Whom my soul loveth"; 4 
and " Now all good things came to 
me " 5 together with Him. This is 
the hidden and heavenly treasure, 
the precious pearl, which is to be 
preferred before all. This it is 
that we must seek with humble 
confidence and untiring effort, yet 
in silence and peace. 

It must be sought with a brave 
heart, even though its price be the 
loss of bodily comfort, of esteem, 
and of honour. 

Lacking this, what doth it profit 
a religious if he " gain the whole 
world, and suffer the loss of his 
own soul?" 6 Of what value are 
the religious state, the holiness 

1 Ps. liv. 23. 2 Ps. Ixxii. 28. 

3 Ps. xv. 8. 4 Cant. Hi. 4. 

6 Wis. vii. ii. 6 Matt. xvi. 26. 

21 



On Union with God 

of our profession, the shaven head, 
the outward signs of a life of ab 
negation, if we lack the spirit of 
humility and truth, in which 
Christ dwells by faith and love ? 
St. Luke says : " The kingdom of 
God," that is, Christ, "is within 
you." 1 

1 Luke xvii. 21. 



22 



CHAPTER III 

THE LAW OF MAN S 
PERFECTION IN THIS LIFE 

IN proportion as the mind is 
absorbed in the thought and 
care of the things of this world do 
we lose the fervour of our devotion, 
and drift away from the things of 
Heaven. 

The greater, on the other hand, 
our diligence in withdrawing our 
powers from the memory, love and 
thought of that which is inferior in 
order to fix them upon that which 
is above, the more perfect will be 
our prayer, the purer our contem 
plation. The soul cannot give 
itself perfectly at the same time to 
two objects as contrary one to 
23 



On Union with God 

another as light to darkness ; l for 
he who lives united to God dwells 
in the light, he who clings to this 
world lives in darkness. 

The highest perfection, there 
fore, of man in this life lies in this: 
that he is so united to God that 
his soul with all its powers and 
faculties becomes recollected in 
Him and is one spirit with 
Him. 2 Then it remembers naught 
save God, nor does it relish or 
understand anything but Him. 
Then all its affections, united in 
the delights of love, repose sweetly 
in the enjoyment of their Creator. 

The image of God which is im 
printed upon the soul is found in 
the three powers of the reason, 

1 Albert the Great supposes here that 
we give ourselves equally to God and to 
creatures, which would be wrong, and not 
that creatures are subordinated to God, 
which would be a virtue. 

2 This must be understood to mean that 
God is the principal and supreme end of all 
created activities. 

24 



Law of Man s Perfection 

memory, and will. But since 
these do not perfectly bear the 
Divine likeness, they have not the 
same resemblance to God as in 
the first days of man s creation. 1 

God is the " form " of the soul 
upon which He must impress His 
own image, as the seal on the wax 
or the stamp on the object it 
marks. 2 



1 The perfect image of God in man does 
not consist merely in the possession of those 
faculties by which we resemble Him, but 
rather in performing by faith and love, as 
far as is in our power, acts like those which 
He performs, in knowing Him as He knows 
Himself, in loving Him as He loves Him 
self. 

2 In scholastic theology the term form 
is used of that which gives to anything its 
accidental or substantial being. God is the 
" accidental form" of the soul, because in 
giving it its activity He bestows upon it 
something of His own activity, by means of 
sanctifying grace. Yet more truly may it 
be said that God is also the form of the 
soul in the sense that it is destined by the 
ordinary workings of Providence to partici 
pate by sanctifying grace in the Being of 
God, enjoying thus a participation real, 
though created, in the Divine nature. 

25 



On Union with God 

This can only be fully accom 
plished when the reason is wholly 
illuminated according to its capac 
ity, by the knowledge of God, the 
Sovereign Truth ; the will entirely 
devoted to the love of the Supreme 
Good; the memory absorbed in 
the contemplation and enjoyment 
of eternal felicity, and in the sweet 
repose of so great a happiness. 

As the perfect possession of this 
state constitutes the glory of the 
Blessed in Heaven, it is clear that 
in its commencement consists the 
perfection of this life. 



CHAPTER IV 

THAT OUR LABOUR MUST 

BE WITH THE UNDER 
STANDING AND NOT WITH 

THE SENSES 

BLESSED is he who by con 
tinually cleansing his soul 
from the images and phantoms of 
earth draws its powers inward, and 
thence lifts them up to God. 

At length he in a manner for 
gets all images, and by a simple 
and direct act of pure intellect and 
will contemplates God, Who is 
absolutely simple. 

Cast from thee, therefore, all 
phantoms, images, and forms, and 
whatsoever is not God, 1 that all 

1 We must avoid these things in so far as 
they separate us from God, but they may 
27 



On Union with God 

thy intercourse with Him may 
proceed from an understanding, 
affection, and will, alike purified. 
This is, in truth, the end of all thy 
labours, that thou mayest draw 
nigh unto God and repose in Him 
within thy soul, solely by thy 
understanding and by a fervent 
love, free from entanglement or 
earthly image. 

Not by his bodily organs or out 
ward senses does a man attain to 
this, but by the intelligence and 
will, which constitute him man. 1 
So long as he lingers, trifling with 
the objects of the imagination and 
senses, he has not yet passed 
beyond the limits and instincts of 
his animal nature, which he pos 
sesses in common with the brute 



also serve to draw us nearer to Him if we 
regard them in God and for God. 

1 It is by the intelligence and will that 
man actually attains to this, but the use of 
the sensitive faculties is presupposed. 
28 



Our Labour 

beasts. They know and feel 
through images and by their 
senses, nor can it be otherwise, for 
they have no higher powers. Not 
so is it with man, who, by his in 
telligence, affections, and will, is 
created in the image and likeness 
of God. Hence it is by these 
powers that he ought, without 
intermediary, purely and directly 
to commune with God, be united 
to Him, and cleave to Him. 1 

The Devil does his very utmost 
to hinder us from this exercise, for 
he beholds in it a beginning and a 
foretaste of eternal life, and he is 
envious of man. Therefore he 
strives, now by one temptation or 
passion, now by another, to turn 
away our thoughts from God. 

At one time he assails us by 

1 The sensitive faculties, if used as a 
means, often help us to draw near to God, 
but when used as an end, their activity be 
comes an obstacle. 

29 



On Union with God 

arousing in us unnecessary anxiety, 
foolish cares or troubles, or by 
drawing us to irregular conversa 
tions and vain curiosity. At 
another he ensnares us by subtle 
books, by the words of others, by 
rumours and novelties. Then, 
again, he has recourse to trials, 
contradictions, etc. 

Although these things may 
sometimes seem but very trifling 
faults, if faults at all, yet do they 
greatly hinder our progress in this 
holy exercise. Therefore, whether 
great or small, they must be re 
sisted and driven from us as evil 
and harmful, though they may 
seem useful and even necessary. 
It is of great importance that 
what we have heard, or seen, or 
done, or said, should not leave 
their traces or fill our imagination. 

Neither before nor after, nor at 
30 



Our Labour 

the time, should we foster these 
memories or allow their images to 
be formed. For when the mind 
is free from these thoughts, we are 
not hindered in our prayer, in 
meditation, or the psalmody, or in 
any other of our spiritual exercises, 
nor do these distractions return to 
trouble us. 

Then shouldst thou readily and 
trustfully commit thyself and all 
that concerns thee to the unfailing 
and most sure Providence of God, 
in silence and peace. He Himself 
will fight for thee, and will grant 
thee a liberty and consolation 
better, nobler, and sweeter than 
would be possible if thou gavest 
thyself up day and night to thy 
fancies, to vain and wandering 
thoughts, which hold captive 
the mind, as they toss it hither 
and thither, wearying soul and 
31 



On Union with God 

body, and wasting uselessly alike 
thy time and strength. 1 

Accept all things, whatsoever 
their cause, silently and with a 
tranquil mind, as coming to thee 
from the fatherly hand of Divine 
Providence. 

Free thyself, therefore, from all 
the impressions of earthly things, 
in so far as thy state and profes 
sion require, so that with a purified 
mind and sincere affection thou 
mayest cleave to Him to Whom 
thou hast so often and so entirely 
vowed thyself. 

Let nothing remain which could 
come between thy soul and God, 
that so thou mayest be able to pass 
surely and directly from the wounds 
of the Sacred Humanity to the 
brightness of the Divinity. 

1 This teaching is the Christian rendering 
of the axiom formulated by the Philosopher : 
"Homo sedendo fit sapiens" "It is in 
quiet that man gains wisdom." 
32 



CHAPTER V 

OF PURITY OF HEART, 

WHICH IS TO BE SOUGHT 

ABOVE ALL ELSE 

WOULDST thou journey by 
the shortest road, the 
straight and safe way unto eternal 
bliss, unto thy true country, to 
grace and glory ? Strive with all 
thy might to obtain habitual clean 
ness of heart, purity of mind, quiet 
of the senses. Gather up thy 
affections, and with thy whole 
heart cleave unto God. 

Withdraw as much as thou 
canst from thy acquaintance and 
from all men, and abstain from 
such affairs as would hinder thy 
purpose. 

33 c 



On Union with God 

Seek out with jealous care the 
place, time, and means most suited 
to quiet and contemplation, and 
lovingly embrace silence and 
solitude. 

Beware the dangers of which the 
times are full ; fly the agitation of 
a world never at rest, never still. 1 

Let thy chief study be to gain 
purity, freedom, and peace of 
heart. Close the doors of thy 
senses and dwell within, shutting 
thy heart as diligently as thou 
canst against the shapes and 
images of earthly things. 

Of all the practices of the spir 
itual life purity of heart stands 
highest, and rightly, for it is the 
end and reward of all our labours, 
and is found only with those who 
live truly according to the spirit 
and as good religious. 

Wherefore thou shouldst employ 

1 This is especially true for religious. 
34 



Purity of Heart 

all thy diligence and skill in order 
to free thy heart, senses, and 
affections from whatever could 
trammel their liberty, or could 
fetter or ensnare thy soul. Strive 
earnestly to gather in the wander 
ing affections of thy heart and fix 
them on the love of the sole and 
pure Truth, the Sovereign Good; 
then keep them, as it were, en 
chained within thee. 

Fix thy gaze unwaveringly upon 
God and Divine things ; spurn the 
follies of earth and seek to be 
wholly transformed in Jesus Christ, 
yea, even to the heart s core. 

When thou hast begun to 
cleanse and purify thy soul of 
earthly images, and to unify and 
tranquillize thy heart and mind in 
God with loving confidence, to the 
end that thou mayest taste and 
enjoy in all thy powers the torrents 
of His good pleasure, and mayest 
35 



On Union with God 

fix thy will and intelligence in 
Him, then thou wilt no longer 
need to study and read the Holy 
Scriptures to learn the love of 
God and of thy neighbour, for the 
Holy Spirit Himself will teach 
thee. 1 

Spare no pains, no labour, to 
purify thy heart and to establish it 
in unbroken peace. 

Abide in God in the secret place 
of thy soul as tranquilly as though 
there had already risen upon thee 
the dawn of Eternity, the unending 
Day of God. 

Strong in the love of Jesus, go 
forth from thyself, with a heart 
pure, a conscience at peace, a faith 
unfeigned ; and in every trial, 
every event, commit thyself un- 

i By this is meant that the Holy Scrip 
tures, though always presupposed as the 
foundation of our belief, of themselves give 
only an objective knowledge of God, while 
that which the Holy Ghost gives is ex 
perimental. 

36 



Purity of Heart 

reservedly to God, having nothing 
so much at heart as perfect 
obedience to His will and good 
pleasure. 

If thou wouldst arrive thus far, 
it is needful for thee often to enter 
within thy soul and to abide 
therein, disengaging thyself as 
much as thou canst from all things. 

Keep the eye of thy soul ever in 
purity and peace; suffer not the 
form and images of this world to 
defile thy mind ; preserve thy will 
from every earthly care, and let 
every fibre of thy heart be rooted 
in the love of the Sovereign Good. 
Thus will thy whole soul, with all 
its powers, be recollected in God 
and form but one spirit with 
Him. 

It is in this that the highest 
perfection possible to man here 
below consists. 

This union of the spirit and of 
37 



On Union with God 

love, by which a man conforms 
himself in everything to the 
supreme and eternal will, enables 
us to become by grace what God 
is by His nature. 1 

Let us not forget this truth : 
the moment a man, by the help of 
God, succeeds in overcoming his 
own will, that is, in freeing him 
self from every inordinate affection 
and care, to cast himself and all 
his miseries unreservedly into the 
bosom of God, that moment he 
becomes so pleasing to God that he 
receives the gift of grace. Grace 
brings charity, and charity drives 
out all fear and hesitation, and 
fills the soul with confidence and 
hope. What is more blessed than 
to cast all our care on Him Who 
cannot fail ? As long as thou 
leanest upon thyself thou wilt 

1 God knows and loves Himself in Him 
self by His own nature, while we know and 
love Him in Himself by grace. 
38 



Purity of Heart 

totter. Cast thyself fearlessly into 
the arms of God. He will embrace 
thee, He will heal and save thee. 1 
If thou wouldst ponder often 
upon these truths they would bring 
to thee more happiness than all 
the riches, delights, honours, of 
this false world, and would make 
thee more blessed than all the 
wisdom and knowledge of this 
corruptible life, even though thou 
shouldst surpass all the wise men 
who have gone before thee. 

i A very striking feature in the doctrine 
of this book is that it requires first the per 
fection of the soul and the faculties, whence 
proceeds that of our actions. Some modern 
authors, confining themselves to casuistry, 
speak almost exclusively of the perfection 
of actions, a method less logical and less 
thorough. 



CHAPTER VI 

THAT A MAN TRULY 

DEVOUT MUST SEEK GOD 

IN PURITY OF MIND AND 

HEART 

AS thou goest forward in this 
work of ridding thee of every 
earthly thought and entanglement 
thou wilt behold thy soul regain 
her strength and the mastery of 
her inward senses, and thou wilt 
begin to taste the sweetness of 
heavenly things. 

Learn, therefore, to keep thyself 
free from the images of outward 
and material objects, for God loves 
with a special love the soul that 
is thus purified. His "delights" 
are " to be with the children of 
4 o 



Purity of Mind and Heart 

men," 1 that is, with those who, 
set free from earthly affairs and 
distractions, and at peace from 
their passions, offer Him simple 
and pure hearts intent on Him 
alone. 

If the memory, imagination, and 
thoughts still dwell below, it 
follows of necessity that fresh 
events, memories of the past, and 
other things will ensnare and drag 
thee down. But the Holy Spirit 
abides not amid such empty 
thoughts. 

The true friend of Jesus Christ 
must be so united by his intelli 
gence and will to the Divine will 
and goodness that his imagination 
and passions have no hold over 
him, and that he troubles not 
whether men give him love or 
ridicule, nor heeds what may be 
done to him. Know well that a 

1 Prov. viii. 31. 
4 1 



On Union with God 

truly good will does all and is of 
more value than all. 

If the will is good, wholly con 
formed and united to God, and 
guided by reason, it matters little 
that the flesh, the senses, the 
exterior man are inclined to evil 
and sluggish in good, or even that 
a man find himself interiorly lack 
ing in devotion. 1 It suffices that 
he remains with his whole soul 
inwardly united to God by faith 
and a good will. 

This he will accomplish if, know 
ing his own imperfection and utter 
nothingness, he understands that 
all his happiness is in his Creator. 
Then does he forsake himself, his 
own strength and powers, and 
every creature, and hides himself 

1 The exterior powers of a man are the 
imagination and passions; the interior his 
intelligence and will, which sometimes find 
themselves deprived of all the aids of sensible 
devotion. 

42 



Purity of Mind and Heart 

in complete abandonment in the 
bosom of God. 

To God are all his actions 
simply and purely directed. He 
seeks nothing outside of God, but 
knows that of a truth he has found 
in Him all the good and all the 
happiness of perfection. Then 
will he be in some measure trans 
formed in God. He will no longer 
be able to think, love, understand, 
remember aught save God and the 
things of God. He will no longer 
behold himself or creatures save in 
God ; no love will possess him but 
the love of God, nor will he re 
member creatures or even his own 
being, save in God. 

Such a knowledge of the truth 
renders the soul humble, makes 
her a hard judge towards herself, 
but merciful to others, while 
earthly wisdom puffs up the soul 
with pride and vanity. Behold, 

43 



On Union with God 

this is wise and spiritual doctrine, 
grounded upon the truth, and 
leading unto the knowledge and 
service of God, and to familiarity 
with Him. 

If thou desirest to possess Him 
indeed, thou must of necessity 
despoil thy heart of earthly affec 
tions, not alone for persons, but 
for every creature, that thou 
mayest tend to the Lord thy God 
with thy whole heart and with all 
thy strength, freely, simply, with 
out fear or solicitude, trusting 
everything in entire confidence to 
His all-watchful Providence. 1 

1 In truth, all the designs of God in our 
regard are full of mercy, and tend especially 
to our sanctification ; the obstacles to these 
designs come only from our evil passions. 



44 



CHAPTER VII 

ON THE PRACTICE OF 
INTERIOR RECOLLECTION 

THE author of the book en 
titled " De Spiritu et Anima" 
tells us (chap, xxi.) 1 that to ascend 
to God means nothing else than to 
enter into oneself. And, indeed, 
he who enters into the secret place 
of his own soul passes beyond 
himself, and does in very truth 
ascend to God. 

Banish, therefore, from thy 
heart the distractions of earth and 
turn thine eyes to spiritual joys, 
that thou mayest learn at last to 

1 The book " De Spiritu et Anima " is of 
uncertain authorship. It is printed after 
the works of St. Augustine in Migne s 
"Patrologia Latina," vol. xl., 779. 

45 



On Union with God 

repose in the light of the contem 
plation of God. 

Verily the soul s true life and 
her repose are to abide in God, 
held fast by love, and sweetly 
refreshed by the Divine consola 
tions. 

But many are the obstacles 
which hinder us from tasting this 
rest, and of our own strength we 
could never attain to it. The 
reason is evident the mind is 
distracted and preoccupied ; it can 
not enter into itself by the aid of 
the memory, for it is blinded by 
phantoms ; nor can it enter by the 
intellect, for it is vitiated by the 
passions. Even the desire of 
interior joys and spiritual delights 
fails to draw it inward. It lies so 
deeply buried in things sensible 
and transitory that it cannot return 
to itself as to the image of God. 

How needful is it, then, that the 
4 6 



Interior Recollection 

soul, lifted upon the wings of 
reverence and humble confidence, 
should rise above itself and every 
creature by entire detachment, and 
should be able to say within itself: 
He Whom I seek, love, desire, 
among all, more than all, and 
above all, cannot be perceived by 
the senses or the imagination, for 
He is above both the senses and 
the understanding. He cannot be 
perceived by the senses, yet He is 
the object of all our desires ; He is 
without shape, but He is supremely 
worthy of our heart s deepest love. 
He is beyond compare, and to the 
pure in heart greatly to be desired. 
Above all else is He sweet and 
love-worthy; His goodness and 
perfection are infinite. 

When thou shalt understand 
this, thy soul will enter into the 
darkness of the spirit, and will 
advance further and penetrate 

47 



On Union with God 

more deeply into itself. 1 Thou 
wilt by this means attain more 
speedily unto the beholding in a 
dark manner of the Trinity in 
Unity, and Unity in Trinity, in 
Christ Jesus, in proportion as thy 
effort is more inward ; and the 
greater is thy charity, the more 
precious the fruit thou wilt reap. 
For the highest, in spiritual things, 
is ever that which is most interior. 
Grow not weary, therefore, and 
rest not from thy efforts until thou 
hast received some earnest or fore 
taste of the fulness of joy that 

1 This darkness is the silence of the im 
agination, which no longer gains a hearing, 
and that of the intellect, which is sufficiently 
enlightened to understand that we can in 
reality understand nothing of the Divinity 
in itself, and that the best thing we can do 
is to remove from our conception of God all 
those limitations which we observe in crea 
tures. The reason of this is that we can 
only know God naturally by means of what 
we see in creatures, and these are always 
utterly insufficient to give us an adequate 
idea of the Creator. 

48 



Interior Recollection 

awaits thee, and has obtained some 
first-fruits of the Divine sweetness 
and delights. 

Cease not in thy pursuit till thou 
shalt behold " the God of gods in 
Sion." 1 

In thy spiritual ascent and in 
thy search after a closer union 
with God thou must allow thyself 
no repose, no slipping back, but 
must go forward till thou hast 
obtained the object of thy desires. 
Follow the example of mountain- 
climbers. If thy desires turn aside 
after the objects which pass below 
thou wilt lose thyself in byways 
and countless distractions. Thy 
mind will become dissipated and 
drawn in all directions by its 
desires. Thy progress will be 
uncertain, thou wilt not reach 
thy goal, nor find rest after thy 
labours. 

1 Ps. Ixxxiii. 8. 

49 D 



On Union with God 

If, on the other hand, the heart 
and mind, led on by love and 
desire, withdraw from the distrac 
tions of this world, and little by 
little abandon baser things to 
become recollected in the one 
true and unchangeable Good, to 
dwell there, held fast by the 
bonds of love, then wilt thou 
grow strong, and thy recollection 
will deepen the higher thou risest 
on the wings of knowledge and 
desire. 

They who have attained to this 
dwell as by habit in the Sovereign 
Good, and become at last insepar 
able from it. 

True life, which is God Himself, 
becomes their inalienable posses 
sion j 1 for ever, free from all fear 
of the vicissitudes of time and 

1 We only lose God, the uncreated Good, 
by an unlawful attachment to created good ; 
if we are free from this attachment, we tend 
to Him without effort. 

50 



Interior Recollection 

change, 1 they repose in the peace 
ful enjoyment of this inward 
happiness, and in sweet communi 
cation with God. Their abode is 
for ever fixed within their own 
souls, in Christ Jesus, Who is to 
all who come to Him " the Way, 
the Truth, and the Life." 2 

1 The subsequent condemnation, in 1687, 
of this doctrine, as taught by Molino, could 
not, of course, be foreseen by Blessed Al- 
bertus writing in the thirteenth century. 

2 John xiv. 6. 



CHAPTER VIII 

THAT A TRULY DEVOUT 

MAN SHOULD COMMIT 

HIMSELF TO GOD IN ALL 

THAT BEFALLS HIM 

FROM all that has hitherto 
been said, thou hast under 
stood, if I mistake not, that the 
more thou separatest thyself from 
earthly images and created objects, 
and the closer thy union with God, 
the nearer wilt thou approach to 
the state of innocence and perfec 
tion. What could be happier, 
better, sweeter than this ? 

It is, therefore, of supreme im 
portance that thou shouldst pre 
serve thy soul so free from every 
trace or entanglement of earth 
52 



A Truly Devout Man 

that neither the world nor thy 
friends, neither prosperity nor 
adversity, things present, past, or 
future, which concern thyself or 
others, not even thine own sins 
above measure, should have power 
to trouble thee. 

Think only how thou mayest 
live, as it were, alone with God, 
removed from the world, the 
simple and pure life of the spirit, 
as though thy soul were already 
in eternity and separated from thy 
body. 

There thou wouldst not busy 
thyself with earthly things, nor 
be disquieted by the state of the 
world, by peace or war, fair skies 
or foul, or anything here below. 
But thou wouldst be absorbed and 
rilled by His love. 

Strive even now in this present 
life to come forth in a manner from 
thy body and from every creature. 
53 



On Union with God 

As far as thou canst, fix the eye 
of thy soul steadfastly, with un- 
obscured gaze, upon the uncreated 
light. 

Then will thy soul, purified from 
the clouds of earth, be like an 
Angel in a human body, no longer 
troubled by the flesh, or disturbed 
by vain thoughts. 

Arm thyself against temptations, 
persecutions, injuries, so that in 
adversity as in prosperity, thou 
mayest still cleave to God in un 
broken peace. 

When trouble, discouragement, 
confusion of mind assail thee, do 
not lose patience or be cast down. 
Do not betake thee to vocal 
prayers or other consolations, but 
endeavour by an act of the will 
and reason to lift up thy soul and 
unite it to God, whether thy 
sensual nature will or no. 

The devout soul should be so 

54 



A Truly Devout Man 

united to God, should so form and 
preserve her will in conformity to 
the Divine will, that she is no 
more occupied or allured by any 
creature than before it was created, 
but lives as though there existed 
but God and herself. 1 

She will receive in unvarying 
peace all that comes to her from 
the hand of Divine Providence. 
In all things she will hope in the 
Lord, without losing patience, 
peace, or silence. 

Behold, therefore, of how great 
value it is in the spiritual life to 
be detached from all things, that 
thou mayest be interiorly united 
to God and conformed to Him. 

Moreover, there will then be 
no longer anything to intervene 
between thy soul and God. 
Whence could it come? Not 

1 And this she does because creatures no 
longer occupy her, except for God s sake. 

55 



On Union with God 

from without, for the vow of 
voluntary poverty has despoiled 
thee of all earthly goods, that of 
chastity has taken thy body. Nor 
could it come from within, for 
obedience has taken from thee thy 
very will and soul. There is now 
nothing left which could come 
between God and thyself. 

That thou art a religious, thy 
profession, thy state, thy habit 
and tonsure, and the other marks 
of the religious life declare. See 
to it whether thou art a religious 
in truth or only one in name. 

Consider how thou art fallen 
and how thou sinnest against the 
Lord thy God and against His 
justice if thy deeds do not corre 
spond with thy holy state, if by 
will or desire thou clingest to the 
creature rather than to the Creator, 
or preferrest the creature to the 
Creator. 

56 



CHAPTER IX 

THE CONTEMPLATION OF 

GOD IS TO BE PREFERRED 

ABOVE ALL OTHER 

EXERCISES 

TT WHATEVER exists outside 

V V of God is the work of His 
hands. Every creature is, there 
fore, a blending together of the 
actual and the possible, and as 
such is in its nature limited. Born 
of nothing, it is surrounded by 
nothingness, and tends to nothing 
ness. 1 

Of necessity the creature depends 
each moment upon God, the 
supreme Artist, for its existence, 

1 This is so because, according to true 
philosophy, the essence of a thing is dis 
tinct from its existence. 

57 



On Union with God 

preservation, power of action, and 
all that it possesses. 

It is utterly unable to accom 
plish its own work, either for itself 
or for another, and is impotent as 
a thing which is not before that 
which is, the finite before the 
infinite. It follows, therefore, that 
our life, thoughts, and works 
should be in Him, of Him, for 
Him, and directed to Him, Who by 
the least sign of His will could 
produce creatures unspeakably 
more perfect than any which now 
exist. 

It is impossible that there should 
be in the mind or heart a thought 
or a love more profitable, more 
perfect or more blessed than those 
which rest upon God, the Almighty 
Creator, of Whom, in Whom, by 
Whom, towards Whom all tend. 

He suffices infinitely for Him 
self and for others, since from all 
58 



The Contemplation of God 

eternity He contains within Him 
self the perfections of all things. 
There is nothing within Him which 
is not Himself. In Him and by 
Him exist the causes of all tran 
sitory things ; in Him are the 
immutable origins of all things 
that change, whether rational or 
irrational. 

All that happens in time has in 
Him its eternal principle. 

He fills all ; He is in all things 
by His essence, by which He is 
more present and more near to 
them than they are to them 
selves. 1 

In Him all things are united and 
live eternally. 2 It is true that the 
weakness of our understanding or 
our want of experience 3 may oblige 

1 Every actual cause is more intimately 
present to its accomplished work than the 
work itself, which it necessarily precedes. 

2 John i. 3, 4. 

3 We cannot always experience Divine 
things, and at first we can only compare 

59 



On Union with God 

us to make use of creatures in 
our contemplation, yet there is a 
kind of contemplation which is 
very fruitful, good, and real, 
which seems possible to all. 
Whether he meditates on the 
creature or the Creator, every man 
may reach the point at which he 
finds all his joy in His Creator, 
God, One in Trinity, and kindles 
the fire of Divine love in himself 
or in others, so as to merit eternal 
life. 

We should notice here the differ 
ence which exists between the 
contemplation of Christians and 
that of pagan philosophers. The 
latter sought only their own per 
fection, and hence their contempla 
tion affected their intellect only ; 
they desired only to enrich their 
minds with knowledge. But the 



them to the things which we experience here 
below. 

60 



The Contemplation of God 

contemplation of Saints, which is 
that of Christians, seeks as its end 
the love of the God Whom they 
contemplate. Hence it is not con 
tent to find fruit for the intelligence, 
but penetrates beyond to the will 
that it may there enkindle love. 

The Saints desired above all in 
their contemplation the increase of 
charity. 

It is better to know Jesus Christ 
and possess Him spiritually by 
grace, than, without grace, to have 
Him in the body, or even in His 
essence. 

The more pure a soul becomes 
and the deeper her recollection, 
the clearer will be her inward 
vision. She now prepares, as it 
were, a ladder upon which she 
may ascend to the contemplation 
of God. This contemplation will 
set her on fire with love for all 
that is heavenly, Divine, eternal, 
61 



On Union with God 

and will cause her to despise as utter 
nothing all that is of time. 

When we seek to arrive at the 
knowledge of God by the method 
of negation, we first remove from 
our conception of Him all that 
pertains to the body, the senses, 
the imagination. Then we reject 
even that which belongs to the 
reason, and the idea of being as it 
is found in creatures. 1 This, ac 
cording to St. Denis, is the best 
means of attaining to the know 
ledge of God, 2 as far as it is 
possible in this world. 

This is the darkness in which 
God dwells and into which Moses 

1 We deny that there is in God anything 
which is a mere potentiality, or an imper 
fection. We deny in Him also the process 
of reasoning which is the special work of 
the faculty of reason, because this implies 
the absence of the vision of truth. We deny 
" being as it is found in creatures," because 
in creatures it is necessarily limited, and 
subject to accident. 

2 " Nom. Div.," i. 

62 



The Contemplation of God 

entered that he might reach the 
light inaccessible. 1 

But we must begin, not with the 
mind, but with the body. We 
must observe the accustomed order, 
and pass from the labour of action 
to the repose of contemplation, 
from the moral virtues to those of 
sublime contemplation. 2 

Why, O my soul, dost thou 
vainly wear thyself out in such 
multiplicity of things ? Thou 
findest in them but poverty. 

1 Exod. xxxiii. n; Num. xii. 8; Heb. 
iii. 2. 

2 It would be well to quote St. Thomas, 
the disciple of Albert the Great, upon this 
important doctrine : "A thing may be said 
to belong to the contemplative life in two 
senses, either as an essential part of it, or 
as a preliminary disposition. The moral 
virtues do not belong to the essence of con 
templation, whose sole end is the contem 
plation of truth. . . . But they belong to 
it as a necessary predisposition . . . because 
they calm the passions and the tumult of 
exterior preoccupations, and so facilitate 
contemplation " ("Sum., "2, 2 ae , q. 180, a. 2). 

Thisdistinction should never belost sightof 
in reading the mystic books of the scholastics. 
63 



On Union with God 

Seek and love only that perfect 
good which includes in itself all 
good, and it will suffice thee. 
Unhappy art thou if thou knowest 
and possessest all, and art ignorant 
of this. If thou knewest at the 
same time both this good and all 
other things, this alone would 
render thee the happier. There 
fore St. John has written : " This 
is eternal life : that they may 
know thee," 1 and the Prophet : " I 
shall be satisfied when thy glory 
shall appear." 2 

1 John xvii. 3. 2 Ps. xvi. 15. 



64 



CHAPTER X 

THAT WE SHOULD NOT BE 

TOO SOLICITOUS FOR 
ACTUAL AND SENSIBLE 

DEVOTION, BUT DESIRE 

RATHER THE UNION OF 

OUR WILL WITH GOD 

SEEK not too eagerly after 
the grace of devotion, sensi 
ble sweetness and tears, but let 
thy chief care be to remain in 
wardly united to God by good 
will in the intellectual part of the 
soul. 1 

1 This admirable doctrine condemns a 
whole mass of insipid, shallow, affected and 
sensual books and ideas, which have in 
modern times flooded the world of piety, 
have banished from souls more wholesome 
thoughts, and filled them with a question 
able and injurious sentimentality. 

6 5 E 



On Union with God 

Of a truth nothing is so pleasing 
to God as a soul freed from all 
trace and image of created things. 
A true religious should be at 
liberty from every creature that he 
may be wholly free to devote him 
self to God alone and cleave to 
Him. Deny thyself, therefore, 
that thou mayest follow Christ, 
thy Lord and God, Who was truly 
poor, obedient, chaste, humble, 
and suffering, and Whose life and 
death were a scandal to many, as 
the Gospel clearly shows. 1 

The soul, when separated from 
the body, troubles not as to what 
becomes of the shell it has 
abandoned it may be burnt, 
hanged, spoken evil of; and the 
soul is not afflicted by these out 
rages, 2 but thinks only of eternity 

1 Matt. xi. 6 ; xiii. 57, etc. 

2 This shows an excellent grasp of the 
meaning of the celebrated maxim " Perinde 
ac cadaver. 

66 



Devotion 

and of the one thing necessary, of 
which the Lord speaks in the 
Gospel. 1 

So shouldst thou regard thy body, 
as though the soul were already 
freed from it. Set ever before 
thine eyes the eternal life in God, 
which awaits thee, and think on 
that only good of which the Lord 
said : " One thing is necessary." 2 
A great grace will then descend 
upon thy soul, which will aid thee 
in acquiring purity of mind and 
simplicity of heart. 

And, indeed, this treasure is 
close at thy doors. Turn from the 
images and distractions of earth, 
and quickly shalt thou find it with 
thee and learn what it is to be 
united to God without hindrance 
or impediment. 

Then wilt thou gain an unshaken 
constancy, which will strengthen 

i Luke x. 42. 2 Ibid. 

67 



On Union with God 

thee to endure all that may befall 
thee. 

Thus was it with the martyrs, 
the Fathers, the elect, and all the 
blessed. They despised all and 
thought only of possessing in God 
eternal security for their souls. 

Thus armed within and united 
to God by a good will, they de 
spised all that is of this world, as 
though their soul had already 
departed from the body. 

Learn from them how great is 
the power of a good will united to 
God. 

By that union of the soul with 
God it becomes, as it were, cut off 
from the flesh by a spiritual separa 
tion, and regards the outward man 
from afar as something alien 
to it. 

Then, whatever may happen in 
wardly or in the body will be as 
little regarded as though it had be- 

68 



Devotion 

fallen another person or a creature 
without reason. 

He who is united to God is but 
one mind with Him. 

Out of regard, therefore, for His 
sovereign honour, never be so bold 
as to think or imagine in His 
presence what thou wouldst blush 
to hear or see before men. 

Thou oughtest, moreover, to 
raise all thy thoughts to God alone, 
and set Him before thine inward 
gaze, as though He alone existed. 
So wilt thou experience the sweet 
ness of Divine union and even now 
make a true beginning of the life 
to come. 



CHAPTER XI 

IN WHAT MANNER WE 

SHOULD RESIST 

TEMPTATION AND ENDURE 

TRIALS 

HE who with his whole heart 
draws nigh unto God must 
of necessity be proved by tempta 
tion and trial. 

When the sting of temptation is 
felt, by no means give thy consent, 
but bear all with patience, sweet 
ness, humility, and courage. 

If thouart tempted to blasphemy 
or any shameful sin, be well 
assured thou canst do nothing 
better than to utterly despise and 
contemn such thoughts. Blas 
phemy is indeed sinful, scandalous, 
70 



Temptation 

and abominable, yet be not anxious 
about such temptations, but rather 
despise them, and do not let thy 
conscience be troubled by them. 
The enemy will most certainly be 
put to flight if thou wilt thus con 
temn both him and his sugges 
tions. He is too proud to endure 
scorn or contempt. The best 
remedy is, therefore, to trouble no 
more about these thoughts than we 
do about the flies which, against 
our will, dance before our eyes. 
Let not the servant of Christ thus 
easily and needlessly lose sight of 
his Master s presence, nor let him 
grow impatient, murmur, or com 
plain of these flies; I mean these 
light temptations, suspicions, sad 
ness, depression, pusillanimity 
mere nothings which a good will 
can put to flight by an elevation of 
the soul to God. 

By a good will man makes God 
71 



On Union with God 

his Master, and the holy Angels 
his guardians and protectors. 

Good will drives away tempta 
tion as the hand brushes away a 
fly. 

" Peace," therefore, " to men of 
good will." * 

In truth no better gift than this 
can be offered to God. 

Good will in the soul is the 
source of all good, the mother of 
all virtues. He who possesses it, 
possesses without fear of loss all 
he needs to live a good life. 2 

1 Luke ii. 14. 

a Nothing could be more conformable to 
the teaching of the Gospel than this doctrine. 

At His birth Jesus bids the Angels sing 
that peace belongs to men of good will 
(Luke ii. 14) ; later He will declare that His 
meat is to do the will of His Father (John 
iv. 34) ; that He seeks not His own will, but 
the will of Him Who sent Him (John v. 30) ; 
that He came down from heaven to accom 
plish it (John vi. 38) ; and when face to 
face with death He will still pray that the 
Father s will be done, not His (Matt. xxvi. 39; 
Luke xxii. 42). Over and over again, in the 
72 



Temptation 

If thou desirest what is good and 
art not able to accomplish it, God 



Gospel, do we find Him using the same 
language. 

He would have His disciples act in the 
same manner. It is not the man, He tells 
us, who repeats the words : " My Father, 
my Father, who shall enter into the King 
dom of Heaven, but he who does the will of 
God (Matt. vii. 21 ; Rom. ii. 13 ; Jas. i. 22) ; 
and in the prayer which He dictates to us 
He bids us ask for the accomplishment of 
this will as the means of glorifying God, and 
of sanctifying our souls (Matt. vi. 10). 

Finally, He tells us that if we conform 
ourselves to this sovereign will, we shall be 
His brethren (Matt. xii. 50 ; Mark Hi. 35). 

When certain persons, pious or otherwise, 
confusing sentiment with true love, ask 
themselves if they love God, or if they will 
be able to love Him always, we have only 
to ask them the same question in other 
words : Are they doing the will of God ? 
can they do it i.e., can they perform their 
duty for God s sake ? Put thus, the ques 
tion resolves itself. 

The reason for such a doctrine is very 
simple : to love anyone is to wish him well ; 
that, in the case of God, is to desire His 
beneficent will towards us. Our Lord and 
Master recalled this principle when He said 
to His disciples, "You are My friends, if 
you do the things that I command you " 
(John xv. 14). 

73 



On Union with God 

will reward thee for it as though 
thou hadst performed it. 1 

He has established as an eternal 
and unchangeable law that merit 
should lie in the will, and that 
upon the will should depend our 
future of Heaven or hell, reward or 
punishment. 2 

Charity itself consists in nothing 
else but a strong will to serve God, 
a loving desire to please Him, and 
a fervent longing to enjoy Him. 

Forget not, therefore, temptation 
is not sin, but rather the means of 
proving virtue. By it man may 
gain great profit, 3 and this the 

1 We must, in virtue of the same principle, 
keep a firm hold of the truth, as indisputable 
as it is frequently forgotten, that we have 
the merit of the good which we will to carry 
out and are unable to accomplish, as we 
have also the demerit of the evil we should 
have done and could not. 

2 " Upon the will depends our future of 
Heaven or hell," because, given the know 
ledge of God, the will attaches itself to Him 
by love, or hates Him with obstinacy. 

3 We may notice, in particular, a three- 

74 



Temptation 

more inasmuch as " the life of 
man upon earth is a warfare." l 

fold benefit : first, temptation calls for con 
flict, and so strengthens virtue ; then it 
obliges a man to adhere deliberately to that 
virtue which is assailed by the temptation, 
and so gain a further perfection ; finally, 
there are necessarily included in both the 
conflict and the adherence to good numerous 
virtuous, and therefore meritorious, acts. 
Thus we may reap advantage from tempta 
tion both in our dispositions and our acts. 
1 Job vii. i . 



75 



CHAPTER XII 

THE POWER OF THE LOVE 
OF GOD 

ALL that we have hitherto 
described, all that is necessary 
for salvation, can find in love alone 
its highest, completest, most bene 
ficent perfection. 

Love supplies all that is wanting 
for our salvation ; it contains 
abundantly every good thing, and 
lacks not even the presence of the 
supreme object of our desires. 

It is by love alone that we turn 
to God, are transformed into His 
likeness, and are united to Him, 
so that we become one spirit with 
Him, and receive by and from 
Him all our happiness : here in 
76 



The Love of God 

grace, hereafter in glory. Love 
can find no rest till she reposes in 
the full and perfect possession of 
the Beloved. 

It is by the path of love, which 
is charity, that God draws nigh to 
man, and man to God, but where 
charity is not found God cannot 
dwell. If, then, we possess chanty 
we possess God, for " God is 
charity." 1 

There is nothing keener than 
love, nothing more subtle, nothing 
more penetrating. Love cannot 
rest till it has sounded all the 
depths and learnt the perfections 
of its Beloved. It desires to be 
one with Him, and, if it could, 
would form but one being with 
the Beloved. It is for this reason 
that it cannot suffer anything to 
intervene between it and the object 
loved, which is God, but springs 

1 i John iv. 8. 
77 



On Union with God 

forward towards Him, and finds 
no peace till it has overcome every 
obstacle, and reached even unto 
the Beloved. 

Love has the power of uniting 
and transforming ; it transforms 
the one who loves into him who is 
loved, and him who is loved into 
him who loves. Each passes into 
the other, as far as it is possible. 

And first consider the intelli 
gence. How completely love trans 
ports the loved one into him who 
loves ! With what sweetness and 
delight the one lives in the 
memory of the other, and how 
earnestly the lover tries to know, 
not superficially but intimately, all 
that concerns the object of his 
love, and strives to enter as far as 
possible into his inner life ! 

Think next of the will, by which 
also the loved one lives in him who 
loves. Does he not dwell in him 
78 



The Love of God 

by that tender affection, that sweet 
and deeply-rooted joy which he 
feels ? On the other hand, the 
lover lives in the beloved by the 
sympathy of his desires, by sharing 
his likes and dislikes, his joys and 
sorrows, until the two seem to 
form but one. Since " love is 
strong as death," 1 it carries the 
lover out of himself into the heart 
of the beloved, and holds him 
prisoner there. 

The soul is more truly where it 
loves than where it gives life, since 
it exists in the object loved by its 
own nature, by reason and will ; 
whilst it is in the body it animates 
only by bestowing on it an existence 
which it shares with the animal 
creation. 2 

1 Cant. viii. 6. 

2 The author is speaking here of the soul 
in so far as it is human, and it is as such 
that it is more where it loves than where it 
gives life. 

79 



On Union with God 

There is, therefore, but one 
thing which has power to draw 
us from outward objects into the 
depths of our own souls, there to 
form an intimate friendship with 
Jesus. Nothing but the love of 
Christ and the desire of His sweet 
ness can lead us thus to feel, to 
comprehend and experience the 
presence of His Divinity. 

The power of love alone is able 
to lift up the soul from earth to the 
heights of Heaven, nor is it possible 
to ascend to eternal beatitude 
except on the wings of love and 
desire. 

Love is the life of the soul, its 
nuptial garment, its perfection. 1 

1 Without charity there is no perfect 
virtue, since without it no virtue can lead 
man to his final end, which is God, although 
it may lead him to some lower end. It is 
in this sense that, according to the older 
theologians, charity is the form of the 
other virtues, since by it the acts of all 
the other virtues are supernaturalized and. 
80 



The Love of God 

Upon charity are based the law, 
the prophets, and the precepts of 
the Lord. 1 Hence the Apostle 
wrote to the Romans : " Love is 
therefore the fulfilling of the law," 2 
and in the first Epistle to Timothy : 
;< The end of the commandment is 
charity." 3 

directed to their true end i.e., to God. 
Cf. St. Th. " Sum.," 2, 2 ae , q. 23, aa. 7, 8. 

1 Matt. xxii. 40. 2 Rom. xiii. 10. 

3 i Tim. i. 5. 



CHAPTER XIII 

OF THE NATURE 

AND ADVANTAGES OF 

PRAYER OF INTERIOR 

RECOLLECTION 

OF ourselves we are utterly 
unable to attain to charity or 
any other good thing. We have 
naught to offer to the Lord, the 
Author of all, which was not His 
already. 

One thing alone remains to us : 
that in every occurrence we should 
turn to Him in prayer, as He 
Himself taught us by word and 
example. Let us go to Him as 
guilty, poor, and miserable, as 
beggars, weak and needy, as 
subjects and slaves, yet as His 
children. 

82 



True Prayer 

Of ourselves we are utterly 
destitute. What can we do but 
cast ourselves at His feet in deepest 
humility, holy fear mingling in our 
souls with love, peace, and recollec 
tion ? 

And while we are fain to draw 
nigh with all lowliness and modesty, 
with minds sincere and simple, let 
our hearts burn with great desires, 
with ardour and heartfelt longings. 
And so let us supplicate our God, 
and lay before Him with entire 
confidence the perils which menace 
us on every side. Let us freely, 
unhesitatingly, and in all simplicity, 
confide ourselves to Him, and offer 
Him our whole being, even to the 
last fibre, for are we not in truth 
absolutely His ? 

Let us keep nothing for our 
selves, and then will be fulfilled in 
us the saying of Blessed Isaac, one 
of the Fathers of the Desert, who, 
83 



On Union with God 

speaking of this kind of prayer, 
said : " We shall be one being with 
God, and He will be all in all to 
us, when that perfect charity by 
which He loved us first has entered 
into our inmost hearts." 1 

This will be accomplished when 
God alone becomes the object of 
all our love, our desires, our striv 
ing, of all our efforts and thoughts, 
of all that we l^hold, speak of, 
hope for ; when that union which 
exists between the Father and the 
Son, and between the Son and the 
Father shall be found also in our 
mind and soul. 

Since His love for us is so pure, 
sincere, and unchanging, ought 
not we in return to give Him a 
love constant and uninterrupted ? 

So intimate should be our union 

1 God can only love Himself or creatures 
for His own sake ; if we have this love 
within our souls we shall be in a certain 
sense one being with Him. 
84 



True Prayer 

with Him that our hopes, thoughts, 
prayers breathe only God. 1 The 
truly spiritual man should set 
before him, as the goal of all his 
efforts and desires, the possession 
even in a mortal body, of an image 
of the happiness to come, and the 
enjoyment even here below of 
some foretaste of the delights, the 
life, and glory of Heaven. 

This, I say, is the end of all per 
fection that the soul may become 
so purified from every earthly 
longing, and so raised to spiritual 
things, that at last the whole life 
and the desires of the heart form 
one unbroken prayer. 

When the soul has thus shaken 
off the dust of earth and aspires 
unto her God, to Whom the true 
religious ever directs his intention, 

1 This teaching is based on the definition 
that prayer is essentially an elevation of 
the soul to God." 

85 



On Union with God 

dreading the least separation from 
Him as a most cruel death ; when 
peace reigns within and she is 
delivered from the bondage of her 
passions and cleaves with firmest 
purpose to the one Sovereign Good, 
then will be fulfilled in her the 
words of the Apostle : " Pray with 
out ceasing," 1 and " in everyplace, 
lifting up pure hands, without 
anger and contention." 2 

When once this purity of soul 
has gained the victory over man s 
natural inclination for the things 
of sense, when all earthly longings 
are quenched and the soul is, as it 
were, transformed into the likeness 
of pure spirits or Angels, then all 
she receives, all she undertakes, all 
she does, will be a pure and true 
prayer. 

Only persevere faithfully in thy 
efforts and, as I have shown from 

1 i Thess. v. 17. 2 i Tim. ii. 8. 
86 



True Prayer 

the beginning, it will become as 
simple and easy for thee to con 
template God and rejoice in Him 
in thy recollection as to live a 
purely natural life. 



87 



CHAPTER XIV 

THAT EVERYTHING SHOULD 

BE JUDGED ACCORDING 

TO THE TESTIMONY OF 

OUR CONSCIENCE 

THERE is also another prac 
tice which will tend greatly 
to thy progress in spiritual perfec 
tion, and will aid thee to gain 
purity of soul and tranquil rest 
in God. Whatever men say or 
think of thee, bring it before the 
tribunal of thine own conscience. 
Enter within thyself, and there, 
turning a deaf ear to all else, set 
thyself to learn the truth. Then 
wilt thou see clearly that the 
praise and honour of men bring 
thee no profit, but rather loss, if 

88 



Testimony of Conscience 

thou knowest that thou art guilty 
and worthy of condemnation in 
the sight of truth. And, just as it 
is useless to be honoured outwardly 
by men if thy conscience accuse 
thee within, so in like manner is 
it no loss to thee if men despise, 
blame, or persecute thee without, 
if within thou art innocent and 
free from reproach or blame. Nay, 
rather, thou hast then great reason 
to rejoice in the Lord in patience, 
silence, and peace. 

Adversity is powerless to harm 
where sin has no dominion; and 
just as there is no evil which goes 
unpunished, so is there no good 
without recompense. 

Seek not with the hypocrites 
thy reward and crown from men, 
but rather from the hand of God, 
not now, but hereafter ; not for a 
passing moment, but for eternity. 

Thou canst, therefore, do 
89 



On Union with God 

nothing higher nor better in every 
tribulation or occurrence than 
enter into the sanctuary of thy 
soul, and there call upon the Lord 
Jesus Christ, thy helper in tempta 
tion and affliction. There shouldst 
thou humble thyself, confessing 
thy sins, and praising thy God and 
Father, Who both chastises and 
consoles. 

There dispose thyself to accept 
with unruffled peace, readiness, 
and confidence from the hands of 
God s unfailing Providence and 
marvellous wisdom all that is 
sent thee of prosperity or adversity, 
whether touching thyself or others. 
Then wilt thou obtain remission 
of thy sins j 1 bitterness will be 
driven from thy soul, sweetness 
and confidence will penetrate it, 

1 Remission may be obtained in this way 
of the fault in the case of venial sins, of the 
punishment due in all sins. 
90 



Testimony of Conscience 

grace and mercy will descend upon 
it. Then a sweet familiarity will 
draw thee on and strengthen thee, 
abundant consolation will flow to 
thee from the bosom of God. 
Then thou wilt adhere to Him and 
form an indissoluble union with 
Him. 

But beware of imitating hypo 
crites who, like the Pharisees, try 
to appear outwardly before men 
more holy than they know them 
selves in truth to be. Is it not 
utter folly to seek or desire human 
praise and glory for oneself or 
others, while within we are filled 
with shameful and grievous sins ? 
Assuredly he who pursues such 
vanities can hope for no share in 
the good things of which we spoke 
just now, but shame will infallibly 
be his lot. 

Keep thy worthlessness and thy 
sins ever before thine eyes, and 
91 



On Union with God 

learn to know thyself that thou 
mayest grow in humility. 

Shrink not from being regarded 
by all the world as filthy mud, 
vile and abject, on account of thy 
grievous sins and defects. Esteem 
thyself among others as dross in 
the midst of gold, as tares in the 
wheat, straw among the grain, as 
a wolf among the sheep, as Satan 
among the children of God. 

Neither shouldst thou desire to 
be respected by others, or preferred 
to anyone whatsoever. Fly rather 
with all thy strength of heart and 
soul from that pestilential poison, 
the venom of praise, from a reputa 
tion founded on boasting and os 
tentation, lest, as the Prophet 
says, " The sinner is praised in the 
desires of his soul." 1 

Again, in Isaias, we read : " They 
that call thee blessed, the same 

1 Ps. ix. 24. 

92 



Testimony of Conscience 

deceive thee, and destroy the way 
of thy steps." 1 Also the Lord 
says: "Woe to you when men 
shall bless you !" 2 

1 Isa. iii. 12. 2 Luke vi. 26. 



93 



CHAPTER XV 

ON THE CONTEMPT OF 
SELF : HOW IT IS ACQUIRED : , 
ITS PROFIT TO THE SOUL 

THE more truly a man knows 
his own misery, the more 
fully and clearly does he behold 
the majesty of God. The more 
vile he is in his own eyes for the 
sake of God, of truth, and of 
justice, the more worthy of esteem 
is he in the eyes of God. 

Strive earnestly, therefore, to 
look on thyself as utterly con 
temptible, to think thyself un 
worthy of any benefit, to be dis 
pleasing in thine own eyes, but 
pleasing to God. Desire that 

94 



The Contempt of Self 

others should regard thee as vile 
and mean. 

Learn not to be troubled in 
tribulations, afflictions, injuries ; 
not to be incensed against those 
that inflict them, nor to entertain 
thoughts of resentment against 
them. Try, on the contrary, sin 
cerely to believe thyself worthy 
of all injuries, contempt, ill-treat 
ment and scorn. 

In truth, he who for God s sake 
is filled with sorrow and compunc 
tion dreads to be honoured and 
loved by another. He does not 
refuse to be an object of hatred, 
or shrink from being trodden 
under foot and despised as long 
as he lives, in order that he may 
practise real humility and cleave 
in purity of heart to God alone. 

It does not require exterior 
labour or bodily health to love 
God only, to hate oneself more 

95 



On Union with God 

than all, to desire to seem little in 
the eyes of others : what is needed 
is rather repose of the senses, the 
effort of the heart, silence of the 
mind. 

It is by labouring with the heart, 
by the inward aspiration of the 
soul, that thou wilt learn to forsake 
the base things of earth and to 
rise to what is heavenly and Divine. 

Thus wilt thou become trans 
formed in God, and this the more 
speedily if, in all sincerity, without 
condemning or despising thy neigh 
bour, thou desirest to be regarded 
by all as a reproach and scandal 
nay, even to be abhorred as filthy 
mire, rather than possess the 
delights of earth, or be honoured 
and exalted by men, or enjoy any 
advantage or happiness in this 
fleeting world. 

Have no other desire in this 
perishable life of the body, no 
96 



The Contempt of Self 

other consolation than unceasingly 
to weep over, regret and detest 
thy offences and faults. 

Learn utterly to despise thyself, 
to annihilate thyself and to appear 
daily more contemptible in the 
eyes of others. 

Strive to become even more 
unworthy in thine own eyes, in 
order to please God alone, to love 
Him only and cling to Him. 

Concern not thyself with any 
thing except thy Lord Jesus Christ, 
Who ought to reign alone in thy 
affections. Have no solicitude or 
care save for Him Whose power 
and Providence give movement 
and being to all things. 1 

1 St. Thomas explains as follows both the 
possibility and the correctness of this opinion 
of ourselves: "A man can, without false 
hood, believe and declare himself viler than 
all others, both on account of the secret 
faults which he knows to exist within him, 
and on account of the gifts of God hidden 
in the souls of others. " 

97 G 



On Union with God 

It is not now the time to rejoice 
but rather to lament with all the 
sincerity of thy heart. 

If thou canst not weep, sorrow 
at least that thou hast no tears 
to shed ; if thou canst, grieve the 
more because by the gravity of thy 
offences and number of thy sins 
thou art thyself the cause of thy 
grief. A man under sentence of 
death does not trouble himself as 
to the dispositions of his execu 
tioners ; so he who truly mourns 
and sheds the tears of repentance, 
refrains from delight, anger, vain- 



St. Augustine, in his work " De Virginit.," 
ch. Hi., says: "Believe that others are 
better than you in the depths of their souls, 
although outwardly you may appear better 
than they." 

In the same way one may truthfully both 
say and believe that one is altogether use 
less and unworthy in his own strength. 
The Apostle says (2 Cor. iii. 5) : " Not that 
we are sufficient to think anything of our- 
selves, as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is 
from God" ("Sum.," 2, 2 ae , q. 161, a. 6, i m ). 
98 



The Contempt of Self 

glory, indignation, and every like 
passion. 

Citizens and criminals are not 
lodged in like abodes ; so also the 
life and conduct of those whose 
faults call for sighs and tears 
should not resemble those of men 
who have remained innocent and 
have nothing to expiate. 

Were it otherwise, how would 
the guilty, great though their 
crimes may have been, differ in 
their punishment and expiation 
from the innocent ? Iniquity 
would then be more free than 
innocence. Renounce all, there 
fore, contemn all, separate thyself 
from all, that thou mayest lay deep 
the foundations of sincere penance. 

He who truly loves Jesus Christ, 
and sorrows for Him, who bears 
Him in his heart and in his body, 
will have no thought, or care, or 

99 



On Union with God 

solicitude for aught else. Such a 
one will sincerely mourn over his 
sins and offences, will long after 
eternal happiness, will remember 
the Judgment and will think 
diligently on his last end in lowly 
fear. He, then, who wishes to 
arrive speedily at a blessed im 
passibility and to reach God, counts 
that day lost on which he has not 
been ill-spoken of and despised. 

What is this impassibility but 
freedom from the vices and passions, 
purity of heart, the adornment of 
virtue ? 

Count thyself as already dead, 
since thou must needs die some 
day. 

And now, but one word more. 
Let this be the test of thy thoughts, 
words, and deeds. If they render 
thee more humble, more recollected 
in God, more strong, then they are 



The Contempt of Self 

according to God. But if thou 
findest it otherwise, then fear lest 
all is not according to God, accept 
able to Him, or profitable to thy 
self. 



101 



CHAPTER XVI 

OF THE PROVIDENCE OF 

GOD, WHICH WATCHES 

OVER ALL THINGS 

WOULDST them draw nigh 
unto God without let or 
hindrance, freely and in peace, as 
we have described ? Desirest thou 
to be united and drawn to Him in 
a union so close that it will endure 
in prosperity and adversity, in life 
and in death ? Delay not to 
commit all things with trustful 
confidence into the hands of His 
sure and infallible Providence. 

Is it not most fitting that thou 
shouldst trust Him Who gives to 
all creatures, in the first place, 
their existence, power, and move- 



The Providence of God 

ment, and, secondly, their species 
and nature, ordering in all their 
number, weight, and measure ? 

Just as Art presupposes the 
operations of Nature, so Nature 
presupposes the work of God, the 
Creator, Preserver, Organizer, and 
Administrator. 

To Him alone belong infinite 
power, wisdom, and goodness, 
essential mercy, justice, truth, and 
charity, immutable eternity, and 
immensity. N othing can exist and 
act of its own power, but every 
creature acts of necessity by the 
power of God, the first moving 
cause, the first principle and origin 
of every action, Who acts in every 
active being. 

If we consider the ordered 
harmony of the universe, it is the 
Providence of God which must 
arrange all things, even to the 

smallest details. 

103 



On Union with God 

From the infinitely great to the 
infinitely small nothing can escape 
His eternal Providence ; nothing 
has been drawn from His control, 
either in the acts of free-will, in 
events we ascribe to chance or 
fate, or in what has been designed 
by Him. We may go further : it 
is as impossible for God to make 
anything which does not fall 
within the dominion of His Provi 
dence as it is for Him to create 
anything which is not subject to 
His action. Divine Providence, 
therefore, extends over all things, 
even the thoughts of man. 

This is the teaching of Holy 
Scripture, for in the Epistle of 
St. Peter it is written : " Casting 
all your care upon Him, for He 
hath care of you." 1 

And, again, the Prophet says : 
" Cast thy care upon the Lord and 

1 i Pet. v. 7. 
104 



The Providence of God 

He shall sustain thee." 1 Also 
in Ecclesiasticus we read : " My 
children, behold the generations of 
men ; and know ye that no one 
hath hoped in the Lord, and hath 
been confounded. For who hath 
continued in His commandment, 
and hath been forsaken?" 2 And 
the Lord says : " Be not solicitous, 
therefore, saying, What shall we 
eat ?" 3 All that thou canst hope 
for from God, however great it may 
be, thou shalt without doubt 
receive, according to the promise 
in Deuteronomy : " Every place 
that your foot shall tread upon 
shall be yours." 4 As much as thou 
canst desire thou shalt receive, 
and as far as the foot of thy con 
fidence reaches, so far thou shalt 
possess. 

Hence St. Bernard says : "God, 

1 Ps. liv. 23. 2 Ecclus. ii. 11, 12. 

3 Matt. vi. 31. 4 Deut. xi. 24. 
105 



On Union with God 

the Creator of all things, is so 
full of mercy and compassion that 
whatever may be the grace for 
which we stretch out our hands, 
we shall not fail to receive it." 1 

It is written in St. Mark : 
" Whatsoever ye shall ask when 
ye pray, believe that you shall 
receive, and they shall come unto 
you." 2 

The greater and more persistent 
thy confidence in God, and the 
more earnestly thou turnest to 
Him in lowly reverence, the more 
abundantly and certainly shalt thou 
receive all thou dost hope and 
ask. 

But if, on account of the number 
and magnitude of his sins, the 
confidence of any should languish, 
let him who feels this torpor re 
member that all is possible to God, 
that what He wills must infallibly 

1 Cf. Serm. I. in Pent. 2 Mark xi. 24. 
1 06 



The Providence of God 

happen, and what He wills not 
cannot come to pass, and, finally, 
that it is as easy for Him to forgive 
and blot out innumerable and 
heinous sins as to forgive one. 

On the other hand, it is just as 
impossible for a sinner to deliver 
himself from a single sin as it 
would be for him to raise and 
cleanse himself from many sins ; 
for, not only are we unable to 
accomplish this, but of ourselves 
we cannot even think what is right. 1 
All comes to us from God. It is, 
however, far more dangerous, other 
things being equal, to be entangled 
in many sins than to be held only 
by one. 

In truth, no evil remains un 
punished, and for every mortal sin 
is due, in strict justice, an infinite 
punishment, because a mortal sin is 
committed against God, to Whom 

1 2 Cor. iii. 5. 
107 



On Union with God 

belong infinite greatness, dignity, 
and glory. 

Moreover, according to the 
Apostle, "the Lord knoweth who 
are His," 1 and it is impossible 
that one of them should perish, no 
matter how violently the tempests 
and waves of error rage, how great 
the scandal, schisms and persecu 
tions, how grievous the adversities, 
discords, heresies, tribulations, or 
temptations of every kind. 

The number of the elect and the 
measure of their merit is eternally 
and unalterably predestined. So 
true is this that all the good and 
evil which can happen to them 
or to others, all prosperity and 
adversity, serve only to their ad 
vantage. 

Nay more, adversity does but 
render them more glorious, and 
proves their fidelity more surely. 

1 2 Tim. ii. 19. 
108 



The Providence of God 

Delay not, therefore, to commit 
all things without fear to the 
Providence of God, by Whose 
permission all evil of whatever 
kind happens, and ever for some 
good end. It could not be except 
He permitted it ; its form and 
measure are allowed by Him Who 
can and will by His wisdom turn 
all to good. 

Just as it is by His action that 
all good is wrought, so is it by 
His permission that all evil 
happens. 1 

1 The teaching of Albert the Great on 
Divine Providence is truly admirable. It is 
based upon the axiom that the actions of 
the creature do not depend partly upon 
itself and partly upon God, but wholly upon 
itself and wholly upon God (cf. St. Thomas 
" Cont. Gent.," iii. 70). 

Human causality is not parallel with the 
Divine, but subordinate to it, as the schol 
astics teach. This doctrine alone safeguards 
the action of God and of that of the creature. 
The doctrine of parallelism derogates from 
both, and leads to fatalism by attributing to 
God things which He has not done, and 
109 



On Union with God 

But from the evil He draws 
good, and thus marvellously shows 
forth His power, wisdom, and 
clemency by our Lord Jesus Christ. 
So also He manifests His mercy 
and His justice, the power of 
grace, the weakness of nature, and 
the beauty of the universe. So He 
shows by the force of contrast the 
glory of the good, and the malice 
and punishment of the wicked. 

In like manner, in the conver 
sion of a sinner we behold contri 
tion, confession, and penance ; and, 
on the other hand, the tenderness 
of God, His mercy and charity, 
His glory and His goodness. 

suppressing for man the necessary principle 
of all good, especially that of liberty. 

It is the doctrine of subordinated causes 
also which explains how things decreed by 
God are determined by the supreme autho 
rity, and infallibly come to pass, without 
prejudice to the freedom of action of second 
ary causes. All this belongs to the highest 
theology. Unhappily, certain modern au 
thors have forgotten it. 
no 



The Providence of God 

Yet sin does not always turn to 
the good of those who commit it ; 
but it is usually the greatest of 
perils and worst of ills, for it 
causes the loss of grace and glory. 
It stains the soul and provokes 
chastisement and even eternal 
punishment. From so great an 
evil may our Lord Jesus vouchsafe 
to preserve us ! Amen. 



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